Policy EMP2: Employment Land and Premises
Policy EMP2: Employment Land and Premises (B-Use Classes) (Use Classes E(g), B2 and B8)
1. Strategic Employment Areas
The Strategic Employment areas identified on the Policies Map and listed in the supporting text below will be protected for employment generating uses within the Use Classes E(g) B2 and B8.
Proposals for new employment floorspace within Strategic Employment Areas will be supported. Proposals should be suitable to the location and not harm the operation of neighbouring businesses.
The change of use or redevelopment of land and buildings within the Strategic Employment Areas for non-employment uses will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that:
2. Other sites in employment use within Settlement Policy Boundaries
The change of use or redevelopment of land and buildings in employment use within the defined settlement policy boundaries will be permitted where it can be demonstrated that:
Other employment sites may be identified through the neighbourhood planning process.
The Strategic Employment Areas which are identified on the Policies Map for employment uses are as follows:
|The majority of employment uses (E (g) (i) (ii) (iii) and B class floorspace) are located within the borough’s allocated Strategic Employment Areas, which generally provide the infrastructure and facilities required to enable their continued role and function. Maintaining a supply of employment land and premises is crucial to enhance the economic competitiveness of the borough and deliver sustainable economic growth. Sites within the Strategic Employment Areas are particularly valuable and the loss of land in these areas to non-employment uses could have a detrimental impact on the local economy, result in a reduction in job opportunities and could generate the additional pressure for the release of land in less acceptable locations. The Strategic Employment Areas are therefore protected for class E (g) and B uses and as such the loss of these sites to alternative uses will not be acceptable unless the criteria set out in the policy can be satisfied.
|The strategy of re-using, regenerating and making more efficient use of existing employment land is consistent with the principles of ‘clean growth’. The council recognise that the addition of complementary uses within Strategic Employment Areas can support their operation and function and encourage prospective tenants/occupiers to these sites. Such uses can also support regeneration proposals by improving the sites offer and also supporting the viability of redevelopment proposals. However, the inclusion of such uses within Strategic Employment Areas, and as replacements for existing employment sites, should be restricted in light of the scarcity of suitable employment land, and therefore the policy includes requirements to ensure that as many employment sites as possible are retained, provided they are viable for that use.
|Turning to demonstrating compliance with the marketing requirements set out in the policy. The details of the marketing process should be set out either in a specific marketing report or within the viability appraisal or planning statement As a minimum the marketing process should entail the display of an agency board at the site, and online marketing via the agent’s website and other specialist publications such as the Estates Gazette Propertylink. Evidence of this having been undertaken will need to be provided with the planning application (and that all of the marketing was for at least 12 months). Details of the interest shown in the premises must be set out within the submission documentation, along with reasons why this interest did not lead to the premises being let or sold. A justification should also be provided for the why the rental/sale value was considered appropriate and whether it was adjusted during the course of the marketing process, and the reasons for not doing so in the event that the price was not adjusted.
|Guidance in relation to the marketing element required by the policy are addressed in a guidance note which sets out what is expected from an applicant when they are undertaking a marketing exercise to support a planning application.
|In terms of the viability appraisal requirements, this assessment should be carried out by a suitably qualified person, such as a chartered surveyor. This should consider the development costs likely to be associated with redeveloping the site for employment use against the likely rental income or sale value, and how this relates to the site/land value, and the need for a competitive return for the developer. The appraisal process and report should comply with the latest guidance regarding this issue set out by the Chartered Institute of Surveyors. Such reports should be prepared on the assumption that they will be published on the council’s website.
|The policy also provides criteria for applicants to satisfy where the proposal would lead to the loss of employment uses on sites within Settlement Policy Boundaries (as defined on the Policies Map) but outside of the defined Strategic Employment Areas. This reflects the tight nature of the current market, which means that all employment sites should be protected where possible.